Verlag der Initiative Sozialistisches Forum
Institut für Sozialkritik Freiburg (ISF) e.V.

Joachim Bruhn: Non-Human and Super-Human

Joachim Bruhn

Unmensch und Übermensch
(Non-Human and Super-Human)[1]

On the relationship of racism and antisemitism
Translated by Erik Ahrens, 2019


By Joachim Bruhn; originally published the first time in Was deutsch ist. Zur kritischen Theorie der Nation, Freiburg (ça ira-Verlag) 1994. – Footnotes in square brackets added by the translator for clarifications. Citations employed by Bruhn are usually conveyed as their official published English translations. In some cases, official translations cannot be found or aren’t freely available; then, the citations are directly translated by E.A. and marked as such.


1. Dialectic of egalité

Article 3 (3) of the German Grundgesetz (‘Basic Law’, 1949 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany[1]) rules: “No person shall be favoured or disfavoured because of sex, parentage, race, language, homeland and origin, faith, or religious or political opinions. No person shall be disfavoured because of disability.” Man[2] – as the constitution, itself understood both as foundation and mission of the state, professes to exclusively know him – appears as an entity stripped of all natural and social determinations, as Man in-himself. The politically relevant subject is the residue which remains after subtracting everything that constitutes the personality and uniqueness of the individual. “Equality before the law” takes place as an equation of individuals by means of criteria totally distinct from those of sensuousness and empirical distinction. Its measure  constitutes itself in the double negation of privilege on the one hand and discrimination on the other. Its product, equitable Man – the legal, i. e. the politico-economic subject – represents absolute reciprocity and total equivalency. As an object of political treatment legally employed by the sovereign, Man does not count as man or woman, neither as German or Jew, Bavarian or Palestinian, Christian or Muslim, nor as communist or fascist. Before the nation ‘joins in’, Man, as material of the State, appears as pure Gattungswesen (‘species-being’)[3], as an abstract human being. Thus, provisions and prohibitions of law apply neither to the concrete individuals nor to their empirical multiplicity. They do not refer to the humans, but to l’homme, i. e. to general Man, subject and object of political sovereignty. The individual – grasped, this way, as the bourgeois notion of itself – counts as a subject of the state, as citoyen[4]. By disregarding his particular needs, which, on the other hand, constitute him as bourgeois and object of state power, the citoyen asserts the general conditions of his social existence in the form and by means of the state.[5]

This schizophrenic constitution of l’homme, who enters the social stage not as a concrete individual, but only as the conjoined twin pair of bourgeois and citoyen, which are incurably at odds with each other, puts every protest and every assertion of particular interests into a deeply ambiguous relationship to the state. The socialist, feminist or anti-racist opposition movements seem to be movements in the higher interest and on account of the state; their goal, which they have yet to achieve in exhausting struggles, appears to be nothing else but the state’s mission itself, its original meaning and purpose, that is to say, the realisation of its constitution. This is like the race between the tortoise and the hare: the state as such is always already there, wherever the opposition is mobilising against the resistance of the state for-itself – i. e., its respective government. Thereby, the opposition gains an imaginary character, which poses the question of whether the appointment of comrades and/or sister as ministers wouldn’t better serve its concerns. Thereby, it becomes unclear and ambiguous whether such emancipation movements – in their struggle against privilege and discrimination – do not rather become the driving force of the abstraction that constitutes the peculiar constitution and resounding power of modern rule, i. e. Capitalism.

This oscillation between protest and affirmation, as irritating as it is characteristic, has determined the course and outcome of all modern social movements since their first inception: the proletarian socialist movement. Furthermore, it has shaped all those debates, as inevitable as they are necessarily fruitless, about the ‘dialectics of reform and revolution’ from Rosa Luxemburg to Herbert Marcuse. Embarking on the realisation of the promises of bourgeois revolution, the social movements have become entangled in the Realparadox issued by the politico-economic structure of bourgeois society, and entrapped themselves within the antinomies established by the 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen: attempting to counter the cynicism of social reality in the name of values and ideas which, although formally being the exact opposite of domination[6] and exploitation, materially compose their indispensable spiritual addendum and ideological representation. What must appear as a conflict of opposites, is indeed the form of movement and the visible side of social unity in contradiction and by means of contradiction. The emancipatory demand, which reckons having gained a fundamental foothold in the immediacy of its needs, gets caught up in the mirror-play of politics and, like a hamster wanting to escape from the captivity of its wheel, power the perpetuum mobile of eternal domination. At the basis of political abstraction, on the ground of the schism of citoyen and bourgeois, the emancipatory interest unconsciously and almost by itself turns into its opposite, affirmation of the universal.[7] What was meant to be negated is being reproduced; the intention to practically realise the bourgeois ideals of liberté, égalité, fraternité fails to recognise itself in its final result – the affirmation of bourgeois domination. The transformative power of democracy lies in the suspension of social interests brought about by the struggle for political majorities. (cf. Agnoli 1990, p. 107ff.) After passing through the wheels of political mediation, the seeming immediacy of this struggle for majorities proves to be an immediate generality[8]: The reproductive character of the protest for the “whole” and the “common good” comes to light when, for the sake of formality, the oppositional interest becomes qualified and quantified as legal and monetary demands.

In the mirror play of politics, inequality appears as an attack on the Categorical Imperative’s validity, as a violation of the “equality of all that bears a human face” [“Gleichheit all’ dessen, was Menschenantlitz trägt”, J. G. Fichte], a principle deemed both imperative and unconditional. Any suspension of the principle “As you treat me, so I will treat you” can only be traced back to pure caprice, arrogant power and horrendous privilege. Therefore, all opposition to bourgeois society appears to rather aim at its historical predecessor and ancestor: feudalism. The protest turns into a mere objection against the “external hindrances established by a government that fails to grasp its true interest”.[9] In this grey area of emancipation and affirmation, the dedication to égalité loses its opponent; it becomes imaginary, reverts, and ultimately turns against itself.


2. Contradiction to Human Rights?

Racism – exclusion from humanity, which commits its monstrosity by mistreating individuals as unwilling nature and undemanding resources, as a thing and a mere product of sex, language and homeland –, as well, is attempted to be cured by an intellectual confirmation and practical realisation of the principle of equivalence: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you! Albert Memmi’s influential standard work defines “racism” as “the generalised and final assigning of values to real or imaginary differences, to the accuser’s benefit and at his victim’s expense, in order to justify the former’s own privilege or aggression.” (Memmi 2000, p. 180)[10] Thus racism could be defined not as a chronic pathology, but as a temporary infection of a bourgeois society that refuses to actually accept its own principle regardless of the person: as an exception without reason, even by its own standards – and therefore, as an exception immanently criticisable, which allows itself to be exempted from its very own rule. The material advantage envisaged by the racists would then express itself as an intellectual prejudice; aggression would occur out of personal aversion. The bourgeois’ egotism, which leads them to evaluate the facts one-sidedly and to outrageously take the differences for an absolute, would be exposed as a presumptuous generality.

Racism is understood as a defect and deficiency, not as a product of the politico-economic structure expressed in the ideology of ‘equality before the law’, but rather as an inherited relict and a product of non-generalisable interests, amalgamated with archaic urges. The racist subject is identified as a quasi-feudal foreign body, against which the idea of equality must first be asserted. With a therapeutic intent, Enlightenment wants to lecture the racist interest about its own conditions: “Racism is always dangerous to its prey, but it is also injurious to the racist group because it boomerangs.” (ibid., p. 151) In the mythology of ‘the Other’[11], the social construct of racism disappears, and racism figures instead as a hardened prejudice, a disturbance in the perception of ‘the alien’. The abstraction of the individual to Man-in-himself – and thus to the subject – is likewise swallowed; Human Rights become an epitome and natural law the point of departure for a politicising anthropology. Like pedagogy ought to fight the racist prejudice of the individual, the state – Realsubjekt of Human Rights – ought to fight the racism of the collective, since “teaching must also address itself to the social, to the collective, and that is the role of politics” (ibid., p. 151). He who runs the poison cabinet is called upon as the doctor.

However, declaring the ‘Other’ a non-human, an animal and worse, does not refer to the evil personality of certain interested subjects, but rather to the general one of subjectivity which expresses itself in ‘equality before the law’ as subjectivity-by-mutuality and presents itself as a contractual relationship; that is to say, the declaration refers to the ‘free will’ as bourgeois anthropology’s essence.

“Every person shall have the right to free development of his personality insofar as he does not violate the rights of others…” (Article 2 (1) Basic Law): Freedom which finds its limit at the freedom of others is that of subjects who are capable of overcoming their mutual exclusion from the means of satisfying their needs – means set as private property – only through the contractual form, and in it both operate like and confirm themselves as owners of themselves. “Free development” is subject to the dictate of tit for that, that equivalency of values as which the exploitation of labour for wages enters the schizoid citoyen-bourgeois’ consciousness exclusively. Bourgeois subjectivity constitutes itself as the commodity’s self-consciousness and, therefore, within the struggle for the realisation of its [the subject’s] own value.

Racist exclusion from humanity feeds on the fear of devaluation; the Other-as-non-human symbolises the consequences of losing out to competition: Loss of free disposal over oneself, loss of subjectivity and alignment with the fates of slaves, minors and the incapacitated. The “inviolable and inalienable human rights” (Article 1 (2) Basic Law) are based on the state guaranteed inviolability each legal subject’s private property title to itself and, furthermore, on the Capitalist inalienability of the wage labourer’s dual freedom.[12] In order to treat himself as his own private ‘human capital’, he needs to be free in every regard. These human rights, constitutionally proclaimed, are put in concrete terms by the notion of legal incapacity, as it is defined by the Civil Code[13]: “A person is incapable of contracting if 1. he is not yet seven years old, 2. he is in a state of pathological mental disturbance, which prevents the free exercise of will, unless the state by its nature is a temporary one.” (Section 104 Civil Code)[14] That means nothing else than: “The declaration of intent of a person incapable of contracting is void” (Section 105 (1) Civil Code).

According to anti-racism’s notion of society, exclusion from humanity is not rooted in the internal contradictoriness of the individual-as-subject. Seen as a contradiction to human right and an abstract negation of equality and liberty – regardless of whether their foundation lies in history and origins, or in reason and logic –, racism is rather understood as an attack stemming from the outside of self-reproductive society, from history and instinctual structure. This also applies to anti-semitism, which, according to Memmi, is to be understood as a “racism directed against Jews” (2000, p. 68). Like every other racism, Memmi argues, antisemitism serves the legitimacy of arrogated power, and that for anti-semitism, too, there is an “organic connection between racism and oppression” (ibid., p. 93). Therefore, domination is taken to be the direct opposite of politics, like privilege is only understood as the external contradiction to equality. This notion of domination, which is thoroughly and merely sociological, fails to grasp racism as anything else but sheer manipulation and staged enactment. Here, Enlightenment takes place within the forms of ideology, as a part of the context of delusion, against which it puts up nothing than rationalisations, and must therefore fail.

If, like Memmi – who here can be considered pars pro toto for anti-racist consciousness –, one assumes that antisemitism “is a racism specific to its object” (ibid., p. 67), i. e. an expression of “heterophobia” which can take on the forms of “Negrophobia”, “Arabophobia”, and “Judeophobia” (ibid., p. 119),[15] then what is lost – alongside the link between non-human and regular subject – is bourgeois society’s latent tendency to its Selbsthaufhebung[16], that turn towards barbarism created on the grounds and by the means of this bourgeois society which escalated to Auschwitz, Treblinka, Majdanek, and Sobibor.

The anti-semitic Volksgemeinschaft[17] was “not a relapse into the old barbarism but the triumph of repressive égalité, the degeneration of the equality of rights into the wrong inflicted by equals.” (Adorno/Horkheimer 2002, p. 9) It is therefore necessary to define the negative dialectic of this “repressive égalité” and to analyse the specific subjectivity which forms itself in the course of the historical development of an equality that can function only in terms of an authoritarian comparison by an identifying third, i. e., by capital and the state. Recognition of ‘the Other’, the “just society” which, according to Memmi, must rest upon the “contractual principle” (2000, p. 165), needs to reflect on its own social constitution – and thereby be exposed as a lie. The idea of sociation-by-contract[18] is at the core of human rights; however, the contract’s premise – individuals reciprocally recognising each other as subjects –  is not an autonomous achievement of these individuals, but rather the result of the very self-valorising-value which, as character masks, the individuals have to execute. – “The order which set out as the progressive one in 1789 carried the germs of National Socialism from the beginning.” (Horkheimer 1939)[19]


3. Unworthy life

Exclusion from humanity is at once the distinct achievement and the logical consequence of the society of human rights. The bourgeois subject is constituted such that it cannot generate identity from within itself, nor gain it in itself, but only in the process of a continuous delineation and a permanent two-front war against both ‘unworthy’ and ‘superior’ life. Bourgeois subjectivity exists only in the complete emptiness of the permanent mediation it has to institute between commodities – in exchange –, and at the price of looming annihilation in case of failure. As a legal fiction, the character mask of the juridical person conceals that behind its mask, there is nothing but the tautological and autistic self-reflection of value onto itself. Torn between property and accumulation, as between right and duty, bourgeois Man has to integrate himself in the struggle against non-human and super-human. Identity – consequently, the social-practical assumption that individuals-as-subjects are relieved from history and nature, i. e. from their own transience, as value and its form of manifestation, money, quasi-ontologically simulate – functions in the system of entitlements and obligations as an abstraction become real, reified in law and protected by the state. The individuals-as-subjects’ social compulsion to self-identity emerges as the juridical figure of the person and, in the notion of legal maturity, acts as the Archimedean point to which the actions and omissions of the empirical individuals are attributed. In this form, the general litigates against the particular.

The legal person relates to the real human being as exchange value relates to use value, as a Realabstraktion[20], not in a hypothetic or nominal but rather in a synthetic and real sense. Asserting abstractions in reality means destroying reality – and not only according to Marx. To disregard the individuals’ corporeality and needs opens the schism between the particular human beings and the general human – Man –, between the empiric individuals and the transcendental subject which represents itself in the generic term, expresses itself in human rights, and incarnates in the sovereign. What political theology was still aware of does not concern political sciences – the sovereign is the general Human and, therefore, the practical reality and social existence of a logical contradiction. All is one: human beings as subjects; things as commodities of value. The Realabstraktionen (‘real-abstractions’) of legal person and money encompass even the most diverse phenomena, identify the things and the individuals as their own equals and express their lowest common denominator – which is not theirs – “as if” (Kant)[21] it was.[22] In that way, the transcendental subject imposes itself on the empirical individual and substitutes it as the entity of sociation.

The real-abstraction’s internal, logical contradiction – its intrinsic impossibility and immanent groundlessness – cannot appear in-itself, but only as the empirical inability to truly suffice and fully correspond to its own notion. The transcendental subject turns against the empirical one in order to illustrate itself; its internal contradiction appears as an opposite – an opposition, even – of the empirical against its notion. As conditio sine qua non of their own validity, human rights – expression of the schism between material (but inauthentic[23]) and ideal (but essential) humanity – generate non-humans and super-humans. In the ideological superstructure of state-guaranteed Capitalism – and, thereby, in practical thought –, profitable valorisation of Man speaks itself into existence as socially enacted separation of humanity into worthy and unworthy life. Anthropology, the science of Man-in-himself, is the manual for manslaughter, murder, and extermination executed by the sovereign as the inner being and objective latency of statehood in the transition of universal Human Rights to national Civil Rights.

The distinction between apparition and essence – between the phenomenology of humans and the logic of the human species-being – prepares the social destiny of those who are ‘only’ considered humans according to the outwardly apparent qualities of humanity. Bourgeois society both inherits and radicalises the difference between Man and devil-disguised-as-Man which Christianity established. Indian forced labourers in the Mines of Potosí[24] posed the same problem for their masters which, later, the Spanish Inquisition and – for completely different purposes – the Nuremberg Laws had to solve.[25]


4. Reason[26] of total valorisation

The logical contradiction in Human Rights, which proceeds in the idea of the state as general Man – i. e. the concept of a concretely-real and immediately-general existence of Man-in-himself – achieves its synthetic representation and organic practice in the sovereign.[27]

Here, general Man appears as a particular specimen; at first in absolutist monarchy, then in democracy in general. The abstract species-being, which seems to relate to the concrete individual as a subordinate and derived nominal abstraction, is encountered by the individual socially-practically in the real-abstraction of the State and confronts this individual as the obligatory and absolute precondition for its existence. It is not the sum of the concrete individuals that is subject to Human Rights, but rather the sovereign as concrete-universal[28] species-being. Empirical human is considered subject to the sovereign only when and only to the extent that he functions as sensual representation of the transcendental subject, i. e. as the organic material of the ideal-practical generality. Outside of this functionalisation, the concrete human beings are literally nobody and nothing. And that is to say: its existence is coincidental, its life is a vacation from death, its perspective is that of an annihilation already imposed and temporarily deferred at best. Formally, its practical exclusion from humanity is already decided, its life is terminable and subject to the sovereign’s proviso, which can be revoked at any time. Reason – the epitome of the successful implantation of the species-being in the concrete individual – is the measure according to which the sovereign disposes of the Wert (‘value’) or Unwert (lit. ‘un-value’, ‘worthlessness’) of the individual. The sovereign sees himself as the coercion of truth and as the command of Reason, i. e. as institutionalised ‘force to freedom’ (Rousseau).

Reason commands the political duty to adjust the thinking of the individual. In his 1755 Encyclopedia, Denis Diderot noted its fundamental law under the lemma “Natural Rights”: Accordingly, one principle is undeniable: “that we must apply reason in all matters because man is not only an animal but an animal who reasons (…); that the person who refuses to search for it renounced his human condition and must be treated by the rest of his species as a wild beast; and that the truth once discovered, whoever refuses to conform to it is mad or evil practicing a morality of malevolence.” The last instance of distinction between human and non-human is the general will that thinks itself in the state. It is anything but the aggregated will of all individuals, rather, it is the individuals’ will’s direct opposite. Diderot continues: “But if we take away from the individual the right of deciding about the nature of right and wrong, where shall we place this great question? Where? Before the entire human race; for only they may decide the issues, since the good of all is the only passion they have. Particular wills are suspect; they can be good or evil, but the general will is always good: it is never wrong, it never will be wrong.” Consequently, the sovereign rules over life and death of the bourgeois subjects: “It is to the general will that the individual must address himself to know (…) when it is suitable to live or die.” It only appertains to the sovereign – God come to the world – to put his creatures into circulation and to take them out from it. Whoever refuses hims, whoever “listens only to his particular will is the enemy of the human race”; whoever proves himself useless for the sovereign’s purposes, whoever “does not wish to reason, renouncing his human condition, must be treated as an unnatural being” (Gendzier 1967, Denis Diderot’s The Encyclopedia: Selections).[29]

The general will is Reason’s material only as the embodiment of subjectless reciprocity, which encompasses everyone but has no-one in mind; it is Reason’s material only as self-consciousness of the proceeding reciprocity in which all participate and which privileges none. General will – usurping the particular will – appears as pure form, as spiritless representation of the wertförmige Synthesis (‘value-form synthesis’)[30] of society in thought. What comes to light both in the systematic emptiness and in the hypertrophic abundance of Reason, namely valorisation as a subjectless process, allocates each individual’s level of humanity according to its capacity for productive work and its political loyalty. Reason – which the individuals demonstrate when they owe their livelihoods only to themselves – is supposed to base on work; work that creates property and needs laws. Idleness is animalistic, propertylessness is non-human, revolution against the society of total valorisation is beastly.


5. Exclusion from humanity

The bourgeois subject grasps itself as the incarnated notion of the species-being and as the manifest reification of Man-in-and-for-himself. Before him, there were only animals; beside him, there is nothing else; and after him, there will be nothing at all. As bourgeois, humanity reaches its conceptual – and, thereby, historic – conclusion. In ethnology, the bourgeois subject recapitulates humanity’s precursors; in anthropology, it reflects itself as the logical premise, and in philosophy, as the logical consequence of the species’ history. At the beginning of bourgeois self-revelation, natural scientist Carl Linnaeus classified four ‘regular’ human types: “Europaeus albus: … imaginative, ingenious, white, sanguine … He lets himself be governed by laws. Americanus rubescus: content with his fate, loves freedom …, tanned, irascible … He lets himself be governed by custom. Asiaticus luridus: avaricious, yellowish, melancholic … He lets himself be governed … by general opinion. Afer niger: devious, lazy, careless … black, phlegmatic … He lets himself be governed by the caprice of his masters.”[31] The ontological difference between the human being and the notion of Man, which amounts to the structural racism of bourgeois subjectivity, appears in ethnological hindsight, in the accounts of explorers and conquistadors, as the coincidental historic simultaneity of the non-simultaneous. That which must be absolutely valid anthropologically, has to exist – for the time being – as a relative particular and feels pressured to coexist with non-humans. The hierarchisation of the species which exists non-simultaneously is the form in which the bourgeois subject suppresses its internal decomposition and its mortal fear of ‘degenerating’ into an unproductive and illoyal animal-disguised-as-human, which it projects onto those elements of global society that are ‘delayed’.

That which threatens to destroy the subject of Human Rights must be battled in the non-human. He is “worth-less” because he cannot be valorised – but is de-valorisation and its consequent social death, the limbo of physical death, not what the bourgeois subject is threatened with by crisis and competition? The black human must be declared humanity’s ground zero so that bourgeois progress towards work and law can find its beginning from there. The non-human[32] symbolises the luxurious idleness and casual freedom of subsistence, through the liquidation of which the bourgeois class installs itself as sole general humanity. The black human is nothing but a cipher and a negative representation of feudal society, which is to be revolutionised and liquidated. What is alleged to be his natural essence carries the insignia of feudality’s lack of sociation: appropriation without work, rule without law. Thus, ethnological recapitulation of history and anthropological reflection on the species yield the same result; the revolutionary manifestation of the human being as bourgeois leads to the murderously profitable liquidation of mere apparent – and, therefore, dysfunctional – humanity, which is declared a degenerate non-being.

The bourgeois represents the ontology of Man; Blacks, Indians, Jews, foul beings, are being discriminated against and dumped in the process of the manifestation of human essence. The human beings are being subsumed under the notion of humanity. The negative dialectic of Enlightenment lies in its necessity to turn into reconnaissance; it produces insight into the nature of the non-human. Its theory is subsumption, its practice is annihilation; it is an expression of arrogated and extorted universality that approximates its real foundation in the system of total sociation.


6. Identification with the Void

Racist exclusion from the species grounds itself in the lack of bourgeois subjectivity which Reason attributes to non-humans. This subjectivity’s first and foremost hallmark is the bourgeois’ property right over his own person, the basis of self-preservation and self-valorisation, which both engenders and enforces free will. The subject’s politico-economic constitution posit it as subject of a dual freedom: its freedom nature is only possible as a freedom to valorisation. The double-character consists in the production of freedom’s form at the expense of its content’s annihilation: free enterprise instead of freedom from enterprise. This subject has its essence in the pure form of mediation of the individual distress of reproduction and the dictate of capital accumulation. In order to sustain itself as a natural being, it must valorise itself as social being. However, Man’s value only arises as a result of mediation, Human Rights reflect the oscillation between the entitlement to self-valorise and the obligation to self-preserve,[33] expressing that subjectivity is only obtainable at the expense of objectivisation. As subjects of equal entitlement, citizens are immediate objects of egalitarian obligation. Equality and freedom constitute their direct opposite: as inequality and unfreedom, which cannot socially appear but as their actual reversal and, simultaneously, as their imaginary sublation.

The individuals’ equality as subjects exists only in the form of their comparability[34] by law, the final instance of which is the sovereign and the first principle of which is accumulation. This total purpose of egalitarian parity posits the contract – its form of consummation – as a disappearing moment of its own realisation. Thus, the chaotic clutter of competing individual wills turns into an accidental quality of order. The contractual form does not generate the consent and identity of its contracting parties, it only affirms them: source of legitimacy and origin of legality at once. The individuals’ essential identity as subjects is not a product of their spontaneous will, but a function of their comparability. Not the citizen, but the commodity is born free and equal; he only attains the insignia of subjectivity as a part and organic limb of the collective. That is why the citoyen can only exist as a nation-state’s citizen, and bourgeois society only in the form of the nation. Identity, the individuals’ equality as subjects, grounds in the homogeneity of all things – as commodities. The subjects’ unity as members of a society transpires as the mere apparition of their essential identity as members of a Volk[35]. The real cohesion – based on the division of labour – of society’s[36] social reproduction enters its consciousness as a natural phenomenon.

Economically, the subject is an entirely mesmerised agent of value and, therefore, obliged to treat itself like a commodity; alike, politically, the subject is a bewitched custodian of contracting and authorised to maintain its own negotiability. By means of capital exploitation and under the auspices of sovereign rule, the contradiction of the factory’s despotism reproduces itself – through the mirror-play of politics – as the republic of the market, further documenting itself as the contradiction of commanding monopoly on violence and consent-driven parliamentarism. Pluralism on the market and in politics turns into monolithism of the factory and the state.

The bourgeois subjects’ society’s atomistic practice, the mediation of which with the whole remains occult and real-metaphysical, can only recognise its results in their inverted form. Conservatism, the invincible opponent of liberalism, has subsisted off this inversion since political romanticism’s Counter-Enlightenment. In his Elements of Statecraft (1809), Adam Müller – apostle of throne and altar – supplemented the liberals’ one-sidedness with the conservatives’ and, therein, established a formula of the constitutionally-schizoid bourgeois consciousness that holds true to this day: “Not only is the state an affiliation of many families living alongside each other, but also, of families succeeding each other; the affiliation should not only be infinitely large and intimate in its spacial dimension, but also immortal in its temporal dimension. The doctrine of the conjunction of succeeding generations is a blank slate in all our theories of the state …” (Müller 1936, p. 40; citation translated by E.A.) In its polemics against the liberal state as an institution for the maximisation of individual benefits, political romanticism prepared the völkisch[37] consciousness. However, in declaring the state the guarantor of the species’ eternal reproduction and thereby legitimising its hostility against the living, this transition of bourgeois self-consciousness after all draws the liberal idea’s innermost consequence and unwillingly confesses that the individuals – as merely empirical individuals – do not count towards the essence of society; they only do so as bourgeois (i. e. self-valorising) subjects, which the völkisch consciousness admits to by its intent to materialise their subjectivity in the form of a concrete völkisch identity.[38] As character-masks of capital, the individuals are devalued and withdrawn from circulation when capital changes its social character and manifests its barbaric tendency not only in the ‘periphery’ of humanity but in its metropoles.

In accordance with its crisis, civil society ceases to be a nation of citoyens and turns into a race of bourgeois. Thus, in its will to exterminate the non- and super-humans, the National-Socialist transformation of the bourgeois class into the Germanic race practically realises the lie of Human Rights: Society implements natural law. Bourgeois subjectivity found its logical consequence and historically revealed the essence of its identity in Auschwitz (cf. Langenbach 1982), i. e. in the practical identification of empirical human beings and the void; with which, theoretically, they were identified long before the Wannsee Conference. “Identity is death” (Adorno).[39]


7. Equality-as-Homogeneity: Jus soli and Jus sanguinis

The state – militant guarantor of the wrong social synthesis – represents the suppressed social division of work as his political nature and, thereby, as an organic connection. It depicts the individuals’ subjective rights to freedom as their objective obligations to the whole. While according to the idea, participation in the state relies only on juridical maturity, its silent premise is ethnic homogeneity. Since, in the state, the society of competitors appears as a community of the immanent, behind jus soli – the equal rights of all citizens residing in a given territory – there lurks jus sanguinis, equality of all Volksgenossen[40] of equal kind and equal heritage. What happens in the transition of formal to material criteria for citizenship is that which, in his Addresses to the German Nation (1808), Johann Gottlieb Fichte recommended for the Germans to become a people: the rendering of the state’s “natural boundaries” as the “internal boundaries” of its members (1922, p. 223) Bourgeois society’s abstractly-egalitarian association is based on the concretely-authoritarian origin of the Volksgemeinschaft, on the positing of society by the state. Völkisch (‘ethnic nationalist’) law is nothing else but the consequent transformation of bourgeois law: Liberal society can only integrate itself by placing the social content of the contractual form – the duty of valorisation – under the state’s custody and, henceforth, letting the state enforce the essential purpose of legality on the ground of material, i. e. völkisch, legitimacy.

The individuals’ equality as legal subjects substantiates itself in their homogeneity as objects of the state; the phenomenal atomism of bourgeois society blossoms out as capital totality; and mediation – imposed on the subjectivised individuals – finds its expression in the objective immediacy of the Volk. Nation – the mere context of conception and birth of individuals-as-natural-creatures – emerges as a product of sovereignty and appears as a political nature which has always taken possession of the individual. From the very soil which the state’s border police guards against the ‘flood of aliens’, from the very ‘territorial integrity’ which the military defends against ‘foreigners’, the category of blood enters politics; jus sanguinis turns out to be both the premise and the corollary of jus soli. Although, naturally, there is a conceptual difference, it does not matter which term is chosen as a label for the notion of homogeneity. Therefore, it makes no substantial difference whether, with Enlightenment philosophy, one speaks of the ‘equality of everything that bears a human face’, whether, with Nicolai Ceaucescu, one dreams of the ‘process of social homogenisation’, or even whether, with Adolf Hitler, one hallucinates about the ‘conspecificity’ of Germans. All of these determinations are about homogeneity, and they merely attach a different label and a different criterion to the individuals’ equation as subjects. As radicalising interpretations of the politico-economic practice’s objective forms of thought, leftist and rightist deviations from bourgeois equality – all attempts to base the subjects’ homogeneity as citizens on the criteria of crisis or of class interests (be it ‘the proletarian class’s labour’ or ‘the Germanic race’s genealogy’) – stand on the grounds of homogeneity, the subject of which is the political sovereign and the purpose of which is the perpetuation of exploitation.

Without denying the evident difference for the individuals of whether they are equated as Bürger, as Aryans, or as proletarians, but at the same time resisting the feelings of omnipotence that the state-form necessarily creates in politics, which are its mode of motion and reproduction,[41] Ideologiekritik (‘critique of ideology’) – the intellectual anticipation of revolutionary practice – which intends a classless (and that means: stateless) world society, has to decipher the state-form’s self-ideologisation and to direct its attention to what lies in the state’s logic. Ideologiekritik differs from antiracist enlightenment à la Memmi by not being interested in the rebuttal of racism and antisemitism – not even in evidence for the nonexistence of ‘races’ –, but rather in the question of how that which is latent in sovereignty becomes practical: the transformation of civil society into a racist Volksgemeinschaft. This is because ‘race’ is not a condition, but a project of domination; it is “the self-assertion of the bourgeois individual, integrated into the barbaric collective.” (Adorno/Horkheimer 2002, p. 138)


8. Superior Life

The juridical figure of the private property owner imagines the bourgeois as a fixed, stable, and self-identical being, invents him as a subject not so much politically-observed but rather conserved by the state. All of his troubles with the tax office are immediately forgotten as soon as he is threatened by ‘social liquidation’ (Bakunin) – which very rarely happens as a threat of imminent revolution. The principle of equivalence incarnated in the Civil Code – which, de jure, grants the orderly reciprocal expropriation and appropriation to the degree to which this all-round legal Übereignung (‘alienation/conveyance of property’) represents the marktförmig (‘market-shaped’ / ‘market-formal’) manifestation of a factory-like being’s legitimate realisation – de facto administers the accumulation of capital. It (the accumulation of capital) necessitates the Person as its quasi-humane mask for the simple reason that the commodity cannot go to the market and negotiate its price on its own. Law, the “primal phenomenon of irrational rationality” (Adorno (1973), Negative Dialectics, p. 309), and the juridical system of personhood as Man’s unfolded Wertförmigkeit (‘value-form-hood’ / ‘value-shaped-ness’), represent the basic form of subjectivised inhumanity and personalised anti-sociality. Compulsive production and routine reproduction glorify the capital relation’s secondary humanisation – which proceeds from juridical personhood – to a mindless faith that requires no liturgy and no church, and whose atheist practice completely suffices as a confession.[42] Thus, the subjects have to live as Jesuits of collective scepticism; bourgeois society as an all-round closed monastery.

Social Realmetaphysik (‘real-metaphysics’) makes the subjectivised individuals appear and act as existentially indispensable in-themselves, and simultaneously makes them feel and grasp themselves as functionally dispensable for-themselves[43]. Spiritual technocracy is reshaped into a real psychocracy. As Man’s value-form, the juridical person ‘politically’ duplicates that unmittelbare Allgemeinheit (‘immediate generality’[44]) which money, as value’s sensual representation, features ‘economically’. Marx writes that “the possession of money places me in exactly the same relationship towards wealth (social) as the philosopher’s stone would towards the sciences.”[45] In such a way, legal subjectivity puts each of its ‘blessed’ individuals into the position of the economic synthesis’ sole sovereign, steers it towards the central political perspective’s locus, and, finally, grants it permission to act as the self-conscious author who ties the Gordian knot of negative sociation and its social network, consisting of nothing but nomadising monads. Bourgeois society is practiced idealism; the subject is its (bourgeois society’s) sovereign origin.

Identity is the due name for the existential fear of total sabotage and of identification’s bankruptcy. Because the bourgeois’ capital identity does not exist in-itself, but only as a flexible function and provided the individual’s frictionless functioning as a ‘character mask’ of the market, the subjectivised individual experiences every stalemate and every crisis of accumulation as a fear of devaluation, even as a panic in the face of its indeed very personal and certainly wholly individual superfluity for the productive mechanism’s further process. For accumulation must not abide by the promises of private property; and the economic boom’s promises are vigorously denied on Black Friday. The politically proclaimed privateigentümliche (‘private-property-induced’)[46] identity – and that means, grasped rationally despite all, the preservation at least of the politico-economic subject as an ultimately creatural individual; its reproduction as a natural stub on which its social function is mounted and in which the function reifies itself – is economically reduced and convicted of its capital-adequate functionality at the very moment when monetary inflation starts galloping, when value – ab ovo et sub specie aeternitatis[47] secured in the seemingly extratemporal Geldmaterial (‘money-material’) – goes haywire.

The stock exchange starts clamouring. The escape towards material assets implies the resort to nationalism; the subject’s panic hunts for something the individual can clutch at; it wants to gain firm ground, i. e. land, i. e. private property ownership of immovable objects or at least of a house or a condominium. The subject’s structural racism and fundamental antisemitism – formerly latent and an objective eventuality – breaks out: Whereas, before, the subject was aware of non-simultaneous humanity’s historical defence, it now becomes aware of super-simultaneous humanity’s attack; what treacherously threatened the full-valued bourgeois out of the past, now suddenly and outrageously carries out its attack from the future[48]. For capital merely expresses value’s self-valorisation in money, but is far from immobilising it as property, for, secondly, the sovereign merely reflects the accumulation’s political duplication in law, which is protected bis the state’s monopoly on violence, but is far from calming it – by means of, say, the balance of rights and duties –; for these reasons, the subject, during the crisis of social integration, feels coerced to transition from the racist exclusion, discrimination, exploitation, and persecution of non-humans – which, for all the violence, still constitutes the subject’s defensive position – to an attack, to escalate to terror and to the antisemitic eradication of the super-humans. As long as the bourgeois subject – which, in-itself, is void – can grasp itself in the categories of work and money, of law and property, racism renders its integration; in contrast, antisemitism attempts to forestall this subject’s implosion, to cure the void of its identity through extermination. “Human rights trump state rights” (Hitler 1936, p. 105)[49]: The uprising of objective Man’s ontology against the phenomenal human being is to enforce the synthesis of a subject completely unraveled, which can only feel legitimately conceived of in the categories of valorisation and capital, of sovereignty and appropriation, and which now consequently sheds its liberal character mask. Mediation is canceled. Thereupon, the subjectivised individuals have to acknowledge that capital has not just functionally instrumentalised but rather materially constituted them. Their form constitutes the whole of their content, everything they can hold onto. The bourgeois constitutive people’s transformation into the congeners’ sovereign Volksgemeinschaft draws the ultimate consequence of bourgeois equality as constituted by the capitalist equation. Nazi Gleichschaltung[50] reveals that which lies behind the agitation against ‘levelling-down’.[51]

In racism, the bourgeois hallucinates his demise into crude nature, in antisemitism, his liquidation by the hypertrophe Geist[52]. Racism’s general and vague fear of the subject’s disappearance in ungainly creatureliness comes to agreement – in antisemitism – with the very specific and exactly addressed fear of bourgeois subjectivity’s decomposition on the hands of the mysterious forces of the abstract. Racism indicates the external resistance against the bourgeois subject’s pretension to exclusively represent the species; by contrast, anti-semitism demonstrates that subject’s internal antagonism which threatens to convict the capital totality of its narcissist megalomania. In racism, the bourgeois subject recapitulated its victorious revolution against that which is only subjectively and merely inauthentically human; it practiced the apparition’s devaluation by essence. Whereas racism’s victims had to embody the subject’s antithesis, the victims of anti-semitism have to suffer the subject’s internal contradiction. The useless – and, therefore, worthless – non-human is joined by the superior – and, therefore, all the more superfluous – super-human: The subject – thus having rid itself of the risk of mediation, and having shed its ambivalent function as a living synthesis of citoyen and bourgeois to gain its existential identity as a mean ‘social animal’ (zoon politicon) – proceeds towards the valorisation of appearance at the hands of essence.


9. Ontological need, existential mania

National Socialism demonstrates what the liberal distinction between population and constitutive people[53], and the sovereign’s ontological boundary between the stateless, the state subjects, and the citizens are all about.[54] Originally aimed at the ‘antinational’ and ‘parasitic’ nobility, bourgeois revolutionary theory had developed the theoretical and practical apparatus necessary for recognising the antagonist and for defining him as the enemy. The 1789 polemic What is the Third Estate? said, “A privileged class is harmful not only because of their esprit de corps, but already because of its mere existence. (…) The privileged could only become capable of representation by virtue of his citizenship; however, he himself has forfeited his citizenship, he stands outside of citizenry, an enemy of common rights.”[55] The polemic against the aristocracy, the “foreign object within the nation” – i. e., against “people whose mere existence signifies a continuous struggle against the people’s large community” – had led to the outcome that “such people have also forfeited citizenship and must be excluded from the right to vote or to run for office even more than a foreigner, whose openly stated interest must, at least, not necessarily contradict (ours)” (Sieyès 1981, p. 190f.)[56]

The verdict on aristocracy was justified as an unfair one[57]; it was, however, illegitimate at the same time, for taking the individuals’ social quality as their conscious will: Not a theoretical fallacy, as it might happen in the heat of the moment, but a foreboding of bourgeois rule’s crisis and doom – at the eve of its initial triumph. Therefore, in an anticipating paranoia, every rule distinct from bourgeois rule had to be demonised not as wrong or impractical, but rather as subjectively evil, chaotic, and abysmally awful (cf. Schumacher 1937[58]). Having passed the idea of human progress, in the name of which the verdict on the monarch was justified, and advancing towards capital ontology’s self-revelation in the species, bourgeois practice paraded its true character in its existential judgement on the jews: prejudice followed by no taking of evidence; justice demanding no trial, because what is planned does not even qualify as judicial murder. Antisemitism cannot be refuted with reasons: Those who are suspicious as a result of their sheer existence cannot be helped by a trial based on circumstantial evidence, for neither probation nor rehabilitation could ever remedy the harm. The natural substrate – the individual – and its social function – the subject – have merged and count as on and the same. Subjective identity takes place in the identification of the anti-subject, in the identification of which with hostile nature. No right to life which is not already relativised by the sovereign’s mere existence: The fundamental non-recognition of the anti-subject’s juridical subjectivity amounts to losing the right to have rights in the first place. From this, the SS-Einsatzgruppen[59], the state’s activists, and the murderous machinery of extermination, the state’s bureaucracy, drew the consequences.

The crisis radicalises the ontological need to an existential mania; the jargon of authenticity[60] becomes propaganda’s everyday language, and every Volksgenosse[61] talks like Heidegger. Common sense manifests itself as sovereignty’s pathological mind. Social synthesis’ implosion entails the subjectivised individual’s explosion. The bourgeois – an idling mediation lacking anything to mediate; the sovereign’s canceled nucleus – appoints himself the species-being’s extremist and a terrorist on humanity’s behalf. He unwinds. As long as it was possible, social reproduction’s occult character called upon the subject to modestly accept the role of money- and state-fetishism’s obedient adept. The ontological drive was always capable of rationalising the world for the sake of practical acting. For the sake of proving economic utility and political servitude, the questions of what is supposed to be ‘German’, and of who exactly counts as an equal among equals, were satisfactorily answered with ‘national identity’. The aversion against ‘parasites’ and ‘cosmopolitans’, the loathing of idle and of limitless life, were completely sufficient. The crisis, however, now brings to light just how enormous a violence dwells within this form of thought.

Convicted of its economic insubstantiality and exposed as superfluous life by crisis and state of exception, it attempts to reconquer its lost social function and to accomplish its re-constitution as a subject. Dissipating, not only does it attempt to reduce the enemy to its own internal void – in a panicked flight forward, it moreover resorts to the volition of appropriating the anti-subject’s identity. For, the logic of National Socialism goes, that which was capable of disintegrating and destroying such an omnipotent and historically influential subject as the bourgeois, and to such an extent, must possess magical powers and an indestructible, eternal essence on his part. “Nowhere at home and nowhere a stranger” (Schopenhauer 2015, § 132)[62]: It is the Jews who supposedly have got true identity; i. e. timeless immutability and spaceless harmony that make good on money’s promise, which was denounced by capital, and on law’s promise, which was destroyed by the sovereign: private property and order. Magically perverted and eerily costumed, the subject’s void appears as the Jews’ being; the anti-subject materialises as “Gegenrasse[63] (Rosenberg 1934, p. 462).[64] The anti-race of super-human humans, of subjects completely de-individualised and of an immortal sovereign, is the manically rational subject’s contrary opponent. The subject wants to remedy itself forever at cost of its anti-subject’s demise; the anti-subject’s death shall endow eternal life. Its (the subject’s) Reich – the this-worldliness of which the subject has to accept reluctantly – shall at least be a Tausendjähriges Reich (‘thousand-year-long empire’). The bourgeois – particularly the German Bürger – having, as one of the Führer’s jurists wrote, always perceived himself “almost like a participator in the Jews’ fate”[65] and as a “Faustian and Ahasverian[66] spectre” (Krieck 1934, p. 19)[67], desire-driven and unsubstantial, National Socialism became bourgeois society’s ultimate project: Declaring war on the ‘eternal Jew’ promised to indefinitely postpone bourgeois society’s Zusammenbruchskrise (‘collapse’ / ‘final crisis’).

Of course, one murders in self-defence, preemptively, to thwart something worse. Whereas, before, racism had been suitable for plainly illustrating, on the bourgeois’ behalf, the species’ Other, and for thus visualising real humanity’s capital split with merely-appearing humanity, now – in order to consummate the symmetry and to empower itself for the two-front-war – it becomes aware of the non-human’s evolution to the sub-human.[68] The full-value subject has to step up against the inferiors and the superiors at the same time. Suddenly, the species’ Other is not allowed any longer to passively doze towards its productive consumption; now, it has to fight back, i. e. to attack under the super-human’s command: “The subhuman is a biological creature, crafted by nature, which has hands, legs, eyes and mouth, even the semblance of a brain. Nevertheless, this terrible creature is only a partial human being. Although it has features similar to a human, the subhuman is lower on the spiritual and psychological scale than any animal. Inside of this creature lies wild and unrestrained passions: an incessant need to destroy, filled with the most primitive desires, chaos and coldhearted villainy. A subhuman and nothing more! Not all of those, who appear human are in fact so. (…) But in these swamps and cesspools the subhuman has found its leader – The Eternal Jew!”[69]

It is the will to appropriate that propels the vigour for extermination: the bourgeois subject’s hopeless expedient is what aggravates the self-defensive rage to the utmost. The disastrous subject strives to detect and to appropriate the substance and essence of productive work and of loyal subservience. Mutated into sovereign capital-fetish’s activist trainee, it wants not any longer to have value – the essence of its sociation – just functionally, as money, but rather to be capital, immediately and existentially. Hence, the ontological need searches for the apt evidence of the subject’s necessity and indispensability, and to gain satisfaction by escalating to the existentialist mania, the result of which is supposed to lie in immediate private property on the substance, in its inalienable representation. Countless corpses and nameless dead lie in the path of this forlorn hunt for identity, which cannot end before all Jew have been murdered.

As a racist community, the bourgeois hallucinate the secret of a crisis-free bourgeois society in the image of Jews-as-“Gegenrasse” (‘anti-race’); the enigma of rule without a state of exception. That which has always represented the enigma – social synthesis’ ‘invisible hand’ – now, in delusional reasoning as in somnambulistic assignation, counts as the anti-subject’s essence. Since the social relation appears as hostile nature, the ‘Jewish entity’ must – rationally and irrationally –[70] represent the synthesis’ principle by means of the antagonistic Spirit.

National Socialist imagination creates the image of ‘the Jew’ as the representation – as paranoid (inverted) as it is projective (caricatured) – of the automatic subject: “Demon of eternal negation” (Rosenberg, p. 462).[71] The “amorphous anarchism”, the “inner impossibility of saying yes”, which National Socialist ideology alleged the Jews to carry, is the flipside of the addiction to order and property; ‘anarchism’ is a term for the fear of chaos; ‘criticism’ is a cipher for the constitutional inability to be loyal; ‘parasitism’ is the codeword for the systematic impossibility of productivity. Because the National Socialist hallucinates the capital synthesis’ negative dialectics as a positive ontology of ‘the Jew’, he decrees that “Judaism’s outer multiformity does not constitute a contradiction to its inner unity, but rather – as strange as it may sound – its condition” (Rosenberg, ibid.). It is this essence, which embodies the identity of identity and non-identity, incarnating the practical reality of a logical impossibility, it this “Jewish essence” which the National Socialist wants to rip out of its Jewish appearance, and that is to say: out of the physical human being. It is not as an “Economy of the Endlösung[72] that Auschwitz was the end of National Socialism, neither was its goal extermination only for the sake of extermination, but rather the subject’s restitution by means of the exterminating appropriation of anti-subjectivity’s essence: “Auschwitz, not the Nazi seizure of power in 1933, was the real ‘German Revolution,’ the attempted ‘overthrow,’ not merely of a political order, but of the existing social formation. By this one deed the world was to be made safe from the tyranny of the abstract.” (Postone 1980).[73]


10. Work and Domination, Valorisation and Sovereignty

Capitalist accumulation’s normality already consists in degrading the worker to an “appendage of a machine”[74]. Real subsumption (under capital) not only intends to reduce variable capital’s costs, aims not only at the reification of capital in the immediate process of production, but furthermore, and to a greater degree, it intends the appropriation of living labour’s enigmatic power to posit surplus value. “Labour itself is the real non-capital.”[75] But capital, which, as automatic subject, exploits the species’ power, and which – essence of fetishism – presents this power as its own essence and life, wants to get to the bottom of things. It wants to liberate humanity’s power from its material form and appropriate it purely: productive destruction. Identifying this essence of productivity is the history of capitalist ‘Rationalisierung’ (‘rationalisation’/‘economisation’), the notion-of-capital’s historic unfolding into society (cf. Bruhn 1982).[76] And sovereign rule’s regularity already aims at detecting and seizing of ‘national identity’ and, therefore, of the subject’s political loyalty. The history of the notion of citizenship and of the practice of naturalisation is a chronicle of attempts to unravel the secret of unconditional loyalty towards power. Its acquisition’s and forfeiture’s provisos and procedures outline how the state intends to functionalise the subjectivised individual: In last instance, as a soldier, who – animated agent of the state’s monopoly on violence – forgets the fear of his own creatureliness’s erasure, and who is ready to die ‘for the fatherland’. Thus, the antinomy of jus sanguinis and jus soli traces the movement of the sovereign’s approaching towards his most prominent object.

The difference between empirical population and transcendental Staatsvolk (‘constitutive people’), which capital posited in the notion of the contractual capability and which the state duplicated in the notion of political maturity, constituted the hierarchy between stateless foreigners, state subjects entitled to passive Human Rights, and citizens with active civil rights, empowered to vote. That which the bourgeois revolution refused to accept in jus soli’s formalism, and yet solved – the problem of legal rights illegitimate use – becomes a matter of survival during the state of exception and crisis. Consequently, formal right is charged with substantialism: The phraseology of “Ahnenerbe[77] (‘ancestral heritage’) merely conceals the real state of affairs, because it is not at all about “Ariernachweise[78] (‘Aryan certificates’) and in no way about genealogy, but rather about the implementation of new, i. e. radicalised, criteria for participation in the sovereign-as-‘protective association’. That which appears archaic is awfully modern: the project of a general stock-taking of the population and of its examination with regards to its suitability as constitutive people. “Only the Reichsangehörige (‘Reich subject’)[79] of German or related blood who has proven, through his conduct, that he is willing and capable of loyally serving the German Volk and Reich – that is, in particular, having fulfilled his labour and military service.”[80] Taken by themselves, ‘blood’ and ‘soil’ entitle to nothing.[81] Jus soli is jus sanguinis, a pure formality that executes rule – of life and death.

”Willing and capable” of work and death: That which – not only according to Nazis – is supposed to be ‘German” can hardly be grasped more accurately; there can be no definition of German essence more handy and convenient than this. The general stock-taking of the population serves this test. The victims – those enemies of the state and work-shy people who are discarded at first, then ‘weeded out’ – have to go through the anguish, suffer the pain, experience the death – the immediate power to annihilate – which the sovereign keeps on hand as an ultimate threat, in case that the constitutive people defies its identification with the monopoly on violence and hesitates at the leveé en masse.[82] The Nazi vigour negatively feeds on the sovereign’s threat to enforce the subject’s existential expendability, which has been unveiled by the crisis and ceased to be merely functional. It thus spurs on the Volksgemeinschaft. This is the ‘fear of freedom’. And the annihilating rage is positively spurred on by the sovereign’s promise to treat the subjective voidness by means of murder and robbery of the anti-subject. This is the ‘Hitler within’, the pleasure in expedient submission.

According to Hannah Arendt, he victims of the capital race’s volksgemeinschaftlich (‘volks-communal’) frenzy are “nothing but humans; however … this humanity means nothing except that they belong to humankind in the same way animal belong to their predetermined species. This abstract human being … is, as it were, the direct counter-image of the citizen, whose inequality and complexity are continually levelled out within the political sphere by the great equaliser of all differences, citizenship itself; for although the right-less is nothing but a human, he is a human precisely not by means of the mutually warranted equality of all rights … (…) At the same time, he is Man and the individual, the most-general and the most-particular” (Arendt 1980, p. 267ff.).[83] Yet: the ‘abstract human being’ is not citizenship’s ‘counter-image’ and does not reveal its Other, but it is merely another expression of the same non-being, its mirror image. It is only in death, that humans can appropriate the identity promised by Human Rights. The promised land of freedom and equality lies six feet underground.


11. The End of Vergleichung

The project of a multicultural Zivilgesellschaft[84] intends to counter racism through the extension of citizenship to all those who somehow, legally or illegally, cross the border. Such de-nationalisation of citizenship and separation of legal subjectivity and descent, examined logically, presupposes the de-nationalisation of state power, i. e. the abolition of all borders. However, nothing of the sort is discussed, but rather ‘refugee policy’ and ‘allocation’. The replacement of “a German within the meaning of this Basic Law is a person who…” (Basic Law, Article 116 (1)) with vocabularies like “Citizen within the meaning of this constitution is a person who” is indeed an honest, but ultimately hopeless attempt to remedy a grievance (by legal means) which could only be abolished by the removal of the last instance – the abolition of the state. The idea of countering racism with legal means may be humanitarian, but it is not humane.

The subject – reinstalled by means of mass murder – of a society which is in no way civil, but postfaschistisch (‘post-fascist’)[85], errs about its politic’s status just as it errs about its economy’s character. Wanting to misunderstand antisemitism as a kind of racism – following Memmi –, it wants to deceive itself about bourgeois equality’s negative dialectic. That which constitutes the essence of equality shall appear as a lack of equality and as an exception. Racism is condemned as exclusion, prejudice, or discrimination, because the logic of equation – which needs antisemitism as the bourgeois’ sanatorium – is out of question. The unfolding “of the equality of rights into the wrong inflicted by equals” is beyond discussion, inasmuch as nothing may be foreclosed for the future; it has been recognised that one cannot issue orders to a sovereign.

The trap of antiracism lies in the anti-racist movement’s humanists’, democrats’, and socialists’ acting in accordance with the logic of politics – sovereignty’s practicing idealists, who merely stand in opposition to the government. For “Freedom, i. e. every individual’s full self-determination, is the state’s principle; the state cannot be unfree. In the pure idea of a state, there is no moment from which unfreedom could emanate; the notion of the state is not capable of generating a constitution or administration that is unfree. It is, therefore, a complete misunderstanding to inculpate or to attack, in the unfree state, the state per se”, the liberal Hegelian Lorenz von Stein wrote at the beginning of bourgeois society in Germany (1921, p. 66f.).[86] Up until today, not even the Marxists have ‘misunderstood’ the state and its ideals as thoroughly as would be necessary, in order to grasp and, therefore, to revolutionarily abolish it. For “an emancipated society (…) would be no unitary state, but the realization of the generality in the reconciliation of differences. A politics which takes this seriously should therefore not propagate even the idea of abstract equality of human beings” (Adorno 1979, p. 139).[87]

That which, without considering this, puts on the airs of practice, fraudulently confounds practice’s notion and concern with pragmatism.



[1] [‘Non-Human’ refers to those excluded from humanity on the grounds of their alleged inferiority (racism), ‘Super-Human’ refers to those excluded from humanity on the grounds of their alleged combined inferiority and superiority (anti-semitism). For the understanding of the article, it is vital to understand that anti-semitism, by rumouring the Jews and/or their state to secretly pull the strings of world politics, the financial markets, the media, etc., does not only allege them to be (physically) inferior, but also to be superior in terms of influence, intellect, aptitude for money, etc. Therein lies the anti-semitic desire not only to oppress or expel the Jews, but to annihilate them and to destroy their last line of defence, the State of Israel.]

[1] [As of 09/2019, official translation available online:]

[2] [In the German language, der Mensch, ‘Man’ / ’the human’, refers both to humanity as a whole and to individual human beings, regardless of their gender. The word being gendered masculine in German, it will be translated as ‘Man’ and referred to by masculine pronouns in this translation. An sich and für sich, when referring to Man, will be translated as ‘in-himself’ and ‘for-himself’; in their Hegelian use, these terms are usually translated as ‘in-itself’ and ‘for-itself’, particularly when referring to gender-neutral notions such as consciousness or knowledge. ‘Man’ is chosen over ‘Human’, which would be a more appropriate and timely translation, in order to avoid having to manufacture updated translations of citations; in a few specific cases, capitalised ‘Human’ will be used synonymously.]

[3] [Term derived from Ludwig Feuerbach and employed frequently by Karl Marx in his Economic & Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844, e. g.: “Man is a species-being, not only because in practice and in theory he adopts the species (his own as well as those of other things) as his object, but – and this is only another way of expressing it – also because he treats himself as the actual, living species; because he treats himself as a universal and therefore a free being.” (Section XXIV; translated Progress Publishers, Moscow 1959)]

[4] [In the German language, der Bürger, ‘bourgeois’ / ‘citizen’, refers both to the notion of bourgeois and to the notion of citoyen, the latter denoting the nation-state’s citizen. Henceforth, Bürger will be translated as bourgeois when referring to the subject of commodity-exchange and, thereby, of Human Rights; it will be translated as citizen when explicitly referring to the legal status of citizenship, equality before the law, etc. As Bürger contains these notions’ dialectical relationship in a unitary term, the reader should keep in mind that bourgeois always implies citizen and vice versa. Throughout the text, bourgeois is not primarily synonymous with ‘Capitalist’ or ‘the Capitalist class’ – as in ‘Henry Ford was a Capitalist’ or ‘The Capitalists exploit the workers’ – but rather refers to bourgeois subjectivity, which is generalised along with the capitalist mode of production. In treating their labour power and, thereby, themselves as commodities, the workers are entangled in that same subjectivity – as long as they do not freely associate as a revolutionary class and emancipate humanity.]

[5] The individual constituted in the form of legal subjectivity, i. e. the subject, has to gain its identity from the mediation of the political and economic conditions of its self-preservation. The fact that this abstract individual asserts itself as the subject of natural law defines both its [the abstract individual’s] empirically-ideological and its socially-unconscious character. Bourgeois consciousness treats the system of these natural laws, Human Rights, like the physicist treats the law of gravitation, which is to say, as an objectivity without historical genesis. As far as history matters, it counts only as an illustration, never as a genetic cause. The French Revolution of 1789 was the social Big Bang of this bourgeois constitution, the moment when its historical genesis transformed itself into objective validity and, thereby, swallowed itself.

[6] [German Herrschaft refers both to ‘domination’ and to ‘rule’; hence, the respective terms are chosen depending on the context.]

[7] [Das Allgemeine, ‘the general’ or ‘the universal’, stands in opposite to das Einzelne, ‘the particular’, and das Besondere, ‘the specific’; what is insinuated here is that, by uttering and enforcing their seemingly individual concrete demands, the social movements confirm and reinforce the general Capitalist categories of citoyen and bourgeois.]

[8] [Unmittelbare Allgemeinheit, ‘immediate generality’ or ‘immediate universality’, term used by Bruhn exclusively in reference to seemingly impossible Realparadoxa, ‘actually existing paradoxes’. Money, the concrete embodiment of an abstract quality (value), is another example of such an unmittelbare Allgemeinheit.]

[9] [Immanuel Kant. What Is Enlightenment? Translation provided:]

[10] [Albert Memni (2000). Racism. Translated and with an introduction by Steve Martinot. Minnesota/London: University of Minnesota Press. (Italics in original.)]

[11] [The original inserts (siehe nur Kristeva 1990), ‘(see Kristeva 1990)’. Bruhn seems to reference the German translation of Julia Kristeva’s Powers of Horror, originally released in 1980 as Pouvoirs de l’horreur. Essai sur l’abjection.]

[12] [Die doppelte Freiheit des Lohnarbeiters, ‘the dual/double freedom of the wage labourer’, refers to Capital Volume One’s Chapter Six: The Buying and Selling of Labour-Power: “For the conversion of his money into capital, therefore, the owner of money must meet in the market with the free labourer, free in the double sense, that as a free man he can dispose of his labour-power as his own commodity, and that on the other hand he has no other commodity for sale, is short of everything necessary for the realisation of his labour-power.”]

[13] [Das Bürgerliche Gesetzbuch, the ‘German Civil Code’; as of 9/2019, official translation available online:]

[14] [The original cites Section 114, which has since been repealed; dating from 1896, it included the conditions of ‘imbecility’, ‘wastefulness’, and ‘intemperance’ as conditions for the deprivation of contractual capability.]

[15] Memmi continues: “I leave to the reader the pleasure of searching for terms that would represent the hostile fear and devaluation of women or adolescents, of homosexuals or old people, and so on.” (2000, p. 119f.) The common term of the ‘struggle against racism and sexism’ is an expression of this “pleasure” turned into oppositional politics.

[16] [Selbstaufhebung, ‘self-abolition’/‘self-cancellation’ (‘self-sublation’ in Hegelian terminology) here refers to the tendency grasped by Adorno & Horkheimer in the Dialectic of Englightenment: “Race today is the self-assertion of the bourgeois individual, integrated into the barbaric collective.” (2002, p. 138) Elsewhere, Adorno writes: “The still unindividuated tribal spirit of primitive societies, pressed by the civilized ones to reproduce itself in them, is planned and released by postindividual collectivism; the objective spirit is overpowering, then, as well as a barefaced swindle.” (Negative Dialectics; 1973, p. 307)]

[17] [The notion of a Volksgemeinschaft, a ‘people’s community’, figured prominently in the National Socialist German Workers Party’s ideology; it envisions a transformation of the German nation into an internally-harmonious Germanic Reich, ‘Empire’, lead by a Führer, ‘leader’. See: Joachim Bruhn (1997). From Anti-Zionism to Antisemitism; translator’s footnote 2.]

[18] [Vergesellschaftung might be translated as ‘socialisation’, ‘sociation’ or even ‘communisation’. Due to it being largely unsolicited by left- and right-wing bourgeois ideologues, ‘sociation’ will henceforth be employed.]

[19] [The Jews and Europe, in: Zeitschrift für Sozialforschung. As of 9/2019, available online:]

[20] [The term is derived from Alfred Sohn-Rethel, friend of Theodor W. Adorno and author of Intellectual and Manual Labour: A Critique of Epistemology (1978). Therein, Sohn-Rethel describes commodity exchange as an abstraction (Realabstraktion) taking place in the material action of commodity exchange, which the conceptual abstractions of the mind are derived from.]

[21] [The specific citation – Bruhn references (Kant 1977, 224) – cannot be located. However, Immanuel Kant prominently makes use of ‘as if’ in his Critique of Judgment, as in “Many things may be charming and agreeable to [someone]; no one cares about that. But if he proclaims something to be beautiful, then he requires the same liking from others; he then judges not just for himself but for everyone, and speaks of beauty as if it were a property of things.” (1987, p. 55f./§ 213; italics not in the original.)]

[22] Enlightenment philosophy is that of “as if” par excellence, albeit not as conjecture and hypothesis, but as  necessarily false consciousness of the real-abstraction’s constitution and form of movement, i. e., as an ideology completely innocent of any intent to manipulate. “Kant’s concepts are ambiguous. Reason as the transcendental, supraindividual self contains the idea of a free coexistence in which human beings organize themselves to form the universal subject and resolve the conflict between pure and empirical reason in the conscious solidarity of the whole. The whole represents the idea of true universality, utopia. At the same time, however, reason is the agency of calculating thought, which arranges the world for the purpose of self-preservation and recognizes no function other than that of working on the object as a mere sense material in order to make it the material of subjugation. (…) The senses are determined by the conceptual apparatus in advance of perception; the citizen sees the world as made a priori of the stuff from which he himself constructs it” (Adorno/Horkheimer 2002, p. 65). Capitalist production is the material verification of this real-abstract apriori, i. e. the genuine practice of utopia.

[23] [It is quite clear from the context that Bruhn employs uneigentlich, ‘inauthentic’, not in order to affirm the assumption that there is a submerged residue of authenticity beneath an alienated society but rather to polemicise against that belief by matter-of-factly stating that material humanity is indeed only the tangible appendage of self-valorising value (selbstverwertender Wert; sometimes translated as ‘self-expanding value’ in Marx), i. e., of capital.]

[24] [In the original, Bruhn here references Tzvetan Todorov’s The Conquest of America (1982).]

[25] This is why Raul Hilberg’s synopsis of the Spanish Inquisition’s measures to produce limpieza de sangre (‘purity of blood’) and the Nuremberg Laws is so enormously insightful (cf. Hilberg 1985, p. 6f.). J.P. Reemtsmas* remarks on ‘the antiracist trap’ should be discussed in that light: He is completely right in deeming theoretical notions of racism unable to help in the clarification, or even in the critique of racism: “If the idea of a ‘racist attitude’ is what the persecuting collective posits to explain the persistence of its own practice of persecution, for which it has lost its rationales, then any anti-racist struggle against prejudice merely enters the terrain that racism has previously prepared for it” (p. 280). Yet, his own thesis – unconscious perpetuity of persecution after having forgotten the original motivation, persecution enticed only by the persecuted individuals’ stigma of being persecuted – ignores that the question of persecution is the question of the practical-ideological schism of the species for the purpose of its Capitalist productisation: Ideology, however, is not forgotten; it has never been known. Concerning the elaboration of the schism between empirical and abstract Man and the exclusion from humanity, the Inquisition’s dead number among the expenses of “primitive political accumulation” (Althusser ) and count towards the constitution of modern bourgeois and – essentially – Capitalist sovereignty. Hilberg’s synopsis is so insightful because it illustrates the ‘problem of cognisance’ which every type of domination over humans by humans must solve practically, although, at the same time, it must presuppose having solved the problem already for the sake of its – domination’s – mere form of existence. Racism is a rationalisation, but it is a rationalisation of the ‘problem’ that the ruling class always grasps itself as a distinct master race, long before fascism. Every modern doctrine of governance that grasps democracy as the form of renewing the ‘political class’ and of recruiting elites suitable for office elucidates this.
[* Jan Philipp Fürchtegott Reemtsma is a German literary scholar and founder of the Hamburg Institute for Social Research. In 1992, he published the essay Die Falle des Antirassismus, ‘the antiracist trap / the trap of anti-racism’, an official translation of which was not found. Therefore, the following translation is made by E.A. and is based on Bruhn’s citation.]

[26] [Die Vernunft der totalen Verwertung, ‘Reason of total valorisation’, refers to the same philosophical notion – Vernunft – as do Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason and Horkheimer’s Eclipse of Reason, among others.]

[27] “The state is the realized, cultivated, explicit totality of the human essence. The head of state is the representative of the universal human being.” [Provisional Theses for the Reformation of Philosophy, theses 13 & 14. As of 10/2019, available online:]

[28] [Note the logical contradiction: konkret-allgemein (‘concrete-universal’ or ‘concrete-general’) posits a logical antinomy as an actually existing attribute of a material entity.]

[29] [As of 10/2019, available online:;view=fulltext.]

[30] [Lit. adjectivised ‘value-shaped synthesis’ / ‘value-formal synthesis’. What is referred to is commodity-value as the essential, synthesising principle of capitalist society.]

[31] [Bruhn references Poliakov et. al. 1984, p. 79; cf. Schmitt-Egner 1975 & 1976; citation translated directly by E.A.]

[32] [Bruhn here originally writes Untermensch, ‘sub-human’, instead of Unmensch, ‘non-human’; this must definitely be an editing mistake, as Bruhn clearly distinguishes, up until part nine, only between the ‘non-human’ targeted by racism and the ‘super-human’ targeted by anti-semitism, in order to introduce the Nazi term ‘sub-human’ later, referring to the terminal point of the bourgeois-turned-Nazi’s perception of the ‘non-human’, that is to say, of the Nazis’ perception of Soviet soldiers and civilians.]

[33] The political obligation of self-preservation is expressed in the prohibition and culpability of suicide, as it still exists in many nations. Therein, the state posits suicide as a misappropriation, abuse, and theft of its human material. Thereby, even the ownership of oneself is put into relativised; however, this juridical provision loses its significance in the wake of ‘overpopulation’, that is to say, of the profitable expendability of humanity. Common theories of suicide prove completely useless in the understanding of this aspect: cf. Émile Durkheim, Suicide (1987).

[34] [Vergleichung, lit. ‘comparison’ or ‘collation’, refers to the subjects’ equality before the law, which the law itself posits; another possible translation would be ‘commensurability’.]

[35] [Lit. ‘people’ / ‘nation’ / ‘tribe’; see Volksgemeinschaft (footnote 18).]

[36] [Bruhn writes Gesellschaft der Robinsons, ‘society of Robinsons’, referring to Robinson Crusoe; cf. Marx (1867), Capital Volume One, Chapter One, Section Four, The Fetishism of Commodities and the Secret thereof.]

[37] [The Völkische Bewegung, lit. ‘folkish movement’, was an ideological precursor and later recruitment pool for the National Socialist German Workers’ Party. Drawing from German Romanticism, its core tenets were a romantic glorification of Germanic history; the idea of a ‘Nordic’, ‘Aryan’, or ‘Germanic’ race – sometimes mystically identified with a supposed original mankind, having built the pyramids and other Ancient Wonders, communing with or being gods, etc. –; a strong aversion to modernity and urbanity; and antisemitism, which painted the Jews as a foreign and subverting element, associating them with modernity and degeneration. Thus, despite a partial turn away from Christianity and towards neo-paganism or ‘Germanic Christianity’, the anti-Judaic traditions of German Christianity (especially Lutheranism; cf. Martin Luther, On the Jews and Their Lies) were converted into esoteric, philosophical, and/or ‘scientific’ antisemitism. In order to express the concept in English, one might point out the similarities to what is considered ‘ethnic nationalism’.]

[38] [The last clause after the semi-colon was added by the translator in order to adequately convey the original’s implication of what is meant by the völkisch movement’s unwilling confession of the empirical individuals’ insignificance and, from a social point of view, nonexistence.]

[39] [The original source of the citation cannot be found.]

[40] [Volksgenossen, ‘national comrades’, term introduced by the völkische Bewegung and made official by the National Socialists in their 1920 party program, defining a Volksgenosse as a non-Jew of ‘German blood’.]

[41] Liberal or even leftist polemics against the “citizenship law’s principle of ancestry as a fossile of national exclusivity” [Bruhn references Franz 1990; citation translated by E.A.] treat the formal antinomy of jus soli and jus sanguinis like a material contradiction. This perspective’s popularity is derived from the unabated continuity of the state-idealist Juristensozialismus (jurists’ socialism) of people like Wolfgang Abendroth, Jürgen Seifert, and Jürgen Habermas.

[42] [This is meant to say: For the observance of the capital relation’s necessary humanisation (juridical personhood), one needs not to have faith in the sense of a religious creed, but only to mindlessly mind one’s own business.]

[43] [An sich (‘in-themselves’) and für sich (‘for-themselves’), see footnote 3.]

[44] [See footnote 8.]

[45] [The citation stems from the Grundrisse der Kritik der Politischen Ökonomie (Fundamentals of Political Economy Criticism), Notebook II, p. 2 (The Chapter on Money (continuation)); Bruhn cites (Marx 1974, 133).]

[46] [In German, privateigentümlich may serve both as an adjectivisation of Privateigentum (private property) and as an allusion to eigentümlich (‘idiosyncratic’); taken literally, privateigentümliche Identität means ‘identity generated and determined by private property relations’.]

[47] [Lit. ‘from the egg and under the aspect of eternity’; as its physical manifestation, money represents value as an eternal (unchangeably self-identical) and non-engendered substance. Therefore, money itself appears to be otherworldly, removed from the restrictions of time and space.]

[48] [Bruhn references (Bindseil 1981; Enderwitz 1987); he seems to refer to Bindseil / Enderwitz (1981) Faschismus, Literatur und bürgerlicher Staat and to Bindseil / Enderwitz (1987) Der Wahnsinn der Wirklichkeit. Ideologiekritische Essays.]

[49] [Citation translated by E.A.; the New Ford Translation of Mein Kampf reads “The law of humanity is above the law of the state.”]

[50] [Gleichschaltung, lit. ‘coordination’ or ‘synchronisation’, is a term derived from electrical engineering which the National Socialists use to label their total control over all aspects of economic, social, and cultural life.]

[51] [Gleichmacherei, ‘levelling-down’, polemic term employed by reactionaries and National Socialists against communism, which allegedly strives to equalise individual differences and to exorcise all particularities. Bruhn argues that this Gleichmacherei is a constitutive feature of bourgeois society, and that it finds its terminal point in the Nazi Gleichschaltung.]

[52] [Geist, ‘Ghost’ or ‘Spirit’, notion employed by Hegel in his Phenomenology of Spirit to grasp totality.]

[53] [Bevölkerung und Volk, lit. ‘population and people’ or ‘population and nation’. For an elaboration on this distinction, see: Joachim Bruhn (1997). From Anti-Zionism to Antisemitism; translator’s footnote 1.]

[54] [The category of Staatsangehörige, ‘state subjects’, was introduced by the Nuremberg Laws in 1935. Consequently, citizenship was restricted to ‘state subjects’ of ‘German or congeneric blood’, whereby ‘state subjects’ without German citizenship – mainly Jews, but also so-called Zigeuner (‘Gypsies’) and enemies of the state – were reduced to ‘members of the Reich’s protective association’ (dem Schutzverband des Deutschen Reichs angehörend), potentially taking away their rights (see Reichsbürgergesetz 1935, §2 (3)). Being a ‘state subject’, in this sense, meant being subject to the potential abrogation of all rights, which was realised in the Jews’ eventual persecution and extermination.]

[55] [Emmanuel Joseph Sieyès What is the Third Estate? (1789); citation translated by E.A.]

[56] As per his social constitution, the aristocrat cannot be a legal subject, however human he might look. He must be of peculiar separate origin and of a distinct race. For this reason, with the monarch – personification of general Man, a feature which is is revolutionarily appropriated by bourgeois society in the form of Human Rights and in the notion of popular sovereignty – there is no relationship of law, but one of violence: He is not litigable, he cannot even be sentenced to death; he can just plainly be liquidated (according to Robespierre, 3rd of December 1792). “The guillotine symbolises negative equality” (Horkheimer 1936). [Citation translated by E.A.; original source: Horkheimer (1936), Egoismus und Freiheitsbewegung.] This is exactly what the Nuremberg Laws established as the essence of the imagined antivölkischen (‘anti-national’) sovereign: exclusion from the species.

[57] That is to say: The soundness of Robespierre’s argument that the tyrant, defying the bourgeois social contract, cannot appeal to a citizen’s rights, lies precisely in its apparent unfairness.]

[58] [Schumacher (1937), Die Angst vor dem Chaos. Über die falsche Apokalypse des Bürgertums.]

[59] [The Einsatzgruppen, ‘task forces’, were the SS’s killing squads charged with the murder of Jews, so-called ‘Gypsies’, local intelligentsia, and partisans in occupied Eastern Europe.]

[60] [Allusion to The Jargon of Authenticity (1964), Theodor W. Adorno’s critique of of post-war German officials’ and publications’ language; therein, he points out National Socialism’s spiritual afterlife in post-Nazi German ideology. Adorno specifically mentions Martin Heidegger and Karl Jaspers as the jargon’s “patriarchs”.]

[61] [‘National comrade’, see footnote 41.]

[62] [Arthur Schopenhauer (2015), Parerga and Paralipomena: Volume 2: Short Philosophical Essays.]

[63] [Gegenrasse, ‘anti-race’, term employed by the Nazi ideologue Alfred Rosenberg in his influential work The Myth of the Twentieth Century.]

[64] The theses developed herein likewise intend to expand the validity of Alfred Sohn-Rethel’s analyses of money as ‘apriori’s hard coin’ to encompass the critique of politics. This is about the identical subject’s constitution, i. e. in the last instance: the sovereign as the subject-parexcellence, his economic movement and crisis dynamic. The talk of ‘Man’s value-form’ is not an analogising metaphor, but rather a notion of homology, as it is demanded by the critique of political economy if it wants to exist as a critique of politics as well (cf. Sohn-Rethel 1973 and 1978). [Of Sohn-Rethel’s referenced works, Intellectual and Manual Labour – A Critique of Epistemology (1978) is available in the English language.] The use-value’s “Tauschabstraktion” (‘exchange-abstraction’) implies – logically at first, then historically – ‘Human Rights’ as an abstraction of the individual; just like, historically, money appeared as gold but its logical ‘essence’ was function, phenomenal humanity relates to Man-in-and-for-himself, to the sovereign, (merely as an apparition, E.A.).

[65] [Origin. Schicksalsgenosse der Juden, ‘destiny-comrade of the Jews’.]

[66] [According to an anti-Judaic medieval legend, the Jew Ahasveros taunted death-bound Jesus and was therefore cursed to wander the Earth until Jesus’ Second Coming, thus becoming the eternally Wandering Jew.]

[67] [Citation translated by E.A.; original work: Ernst Krieck (1934), Der Staat des deutschen Menschen.]

[68] [Origin. die Evolution des Unmenschen zum Untermenschen; whereas, up until now, Bruhn logically distinguished between ‘non-human’ and ‘super-human’ to grasp the subjectivised individual’s racism and antisemitism, he now refers to their historical synthesis, which emerges as the subject-turned-Nazi’s notion of its wartime enemy. Having been used, even before National Socialism’s takeover, as a particularly derogatory insult, Der Untermensch (‘the sub-human’) figured most prominently as the title of a 1942 brochure issued by Heinrich Himmler, Reichsführer-SS (‘Reich Leader-SS’), during the early phase of the Third Reich’s war against the Soviet Union; Der Untermensch consisted mainly of convulsed representations of Soviet prisoners of war, depicting them as ‘mongrels’ and implying their complete and mindless submission to Jewish masterminds.]

[69] [Reichsführer-SS (1942), Der Untermensch – “The subhuman”; as of 10/2019, translation available online:]

[70] The endless debates about the ‘rationality’ or ‘irrationality’ of the Holocaust subsist on the positivist notion of instrumental Reason as a relationship of means and ends. However, here – by means of and in the middle of mass extermination – the purposeful subject’s disintegration and delirium occur: As the “automatic subject”[70] loses its self-referentiality, as value’s self-valorisation – which constitutes its identity – falters, it (the automatic subject) needs to be brought back to raison and back to its processing unity at the hands of the state and of the state’s monopoly on violence. As usual, one should, here, not take to Max Weber for an answer – the Reichsbahn’s (‘Imperial German Railroad’) use to transport Jews to Auschwitz is not a contradiction to the ‘rationality’ which the capital relationship is alleged of, and which has never been anything else but a bourgeois theoreticians’ projection; despite every objection due to so-called military exigencies. All of this neither proves the bourgeois idea of racial mania’s ideological autarky, nor the Marxist idea of the state’s ‘relative autonomy’, but rather, materialistically, capital’s historical tendency to dissolve into nothing but barbarism, a tendency which was anticipated and practiced, for the first time, in Germany.

[71] [See footnote 64.]

[72] [Endlösung, ‘final solution’, term applied by the National Socialists for the attempted extermination of European Jewry; Bruhn refers to German historians Götz Aly and Susanne Heim, who have written extensively about the Holocaust (cf. Aly/Heim (2004), Vordenker der Vernichtung); Bruhn particularly refers to Die Ökonomie der “Endlösung” (‘The “Final Solution’s” Economy”), which was published in Sozialplanung und Judenvernichtung (1987).]

[73] [Moishe Postone (1980), Anti-Semitism and National Socialism: Notes on the German Reaction to ‘Holocaust’.] Postone’s article provides the most instructive analysis of the Nazis’ ‘anti-capitalism’ since Alfred Sohn-Rethel’s Economy and Class Structure of German Fascism, and it (the analysis) marks the definite break with traditional interpretations – especially with interpretations of ‘National Socialism’s left wing’ as a ‘socialism of fools’ in line with Bebel, Kautsky, and Dimitroff. Yet, his thesis of a ‘barbaric revolution against capital’ is not completely accurate; for Postone’s deduction of antisemitism from capital’s fetish-characters forgets the moment of capitalist reproduction’s collapse-crisis, the guardian of which is precisely the political sovereign: Postone defines the violence as ideology’s objective form of thought, but he does not investigate who exerts this violence and why. To be sure, he deducts the fact that Jews were seen as ‘rootless, international, and abstract’ from the political duplication of commodity’s double-character in the antinomy of bourgeois and citoyen, but he overlooks that this antagonism of l’homme’s subjectivity is constitutionally immanent. As Postone consequently interprets this antinomy as a contradiction, he must go on to interpret the material determination of citizenship, jus sanguinis, as a pre-bourgeois relict, and to interpret jus soli as progressive, that is to say, as a tendential transcendence of the bourgeois condition: “In Europe (…) the notion of the nation as a purely political entity, abstracted from the substantiality of civil society, was never fully realised” (ibid.). If the “determination of citizenship as a pure political abstraction” had been historically feasible, the kapitallogische (‘capital-logical’) antisemitism could maybe – Postone indicates – have been curbed by a state truly worthy of being called bürgerlich (‘bourgeois’). Herein, the state-forgottenness of even more advanced critiques of political economy takes vengeance – by contrast, see Enderwitz 1991 and 1993.

[74] [Marx (1867), Capital Volume One, Chapter Twenty-Five, Section 4: Different Forms of the Relative surplus population. The General Law of Capitalistic Accumulation.]

[75] [Marx (1858), Second Draft of Critique of Political Economy, Chapter Three, Section A), part 1), The Transformation of Money into Capital.]

[76] [Bruhn (1982), Thesen zum nationalsozialistischen Arbeitsbegriff, seinem historischen Umfeld und seinen Konsequenzen (‘Theses on the National-Socialist notion of work, its historic environment, and its consequences’).]

[77] [The Forschungsgemeinschaft Deutsches Ahnenerbe, ‘Research community for German ancestral heritage’, was a National Socialist ideological institution founded by Heinrich Himmler and tasked with the corroboration and spreading of the ideas of an original Aryan ‘master race’.]

[78] [The Ariernachweis, ‘Aryan certificate’, was required for public officials and employees, beginning shortly after the Nazi takeover in 1933. Therein, one had to prove ones German or ‘related’ (i. e. European non-Jewish) ancestry. The National Socialist German Workers Party and the SS demanded an extended certificate, dating back as far as 1800 and 1750.]

[79] [Reichsangehöriger, ‘Reich subject’/‘Imperial subject’, used synonymously with ‘state subject’, see footnote 55.]

[80] [Schmelzeisen (1938), Deutsches Recht. Einführung in die Rechtswissenschaft. Citation translated by E.A.]

[81] Carl Schmitt is completely right: “The equality of all ‘that bears a human face’ can neither establish a state, nor a form of state, nor a form of government.”[81] However, this does not mean that jus soli is progressive or even subversive, as Schmitt – who, without further ado, identifies sovereignty with the violence-apparatus – wants to make believe, and as a Left – which, conversely, identifies the violence-apparatus with sovereignty – wants to believe. For “an equality which has no content other than the equality that all humans hold in common per se, such an equality would be an unpolitical equality, as it lacks the correlate of a potential inequality” (Schmitt 1928, p. 227). The bourgeois equation[81] is, in-itself, political, because its criterium is anthropological and thus opens up a chasm between appearance and essence, which the sovereign fills. “All humans per se” – that would be free association, i. e. communism.

[82] The hard core of Hitler’s Mein Kampf, the crucial strategic point of German fascism as – National Socialism, it the determination of the relationship between Staatsangehöriger (‘state subject’) and Staatsbürger (‘citizen’)[82] (cf. Hitler 1936, p. 488ff.). At this very point, Hitler-the-“ideology” sitz at the center of Hitler-the-“statesman’s” brain. And at this issue, the paths of materialist critique of the state and of leftist theory of democracy part: All warranted loathing of fascism aside, the ‘fight against the right’ is all too unfounded. One must criticise Hitler and Carl Schmitt as the state-form’s objective thinkers in such a way as Marx did in Kapital with Adam Smith and Ricardo.

[83] [Arendt (1980), Elemente und Ursprünge totaler Herrschaft; citation translated by E.A.]

[84] [Zivilgesellschaft, ‘civil society’, is a keyword in the German public discussion that encompasses foundations, clubs, unions, NGOs, NPOs, organisations linked to social movements, research and education initiatives, religious organisations, and other ideological state apparatuses.]

[85] [Cf. Stephan Grigat (ed.) (2012), Postnazismus revisited – Das Nachleben des Nationalsozialismus im 21. Jahrhundert (‘Post-Nazism revisited – National Socialism’s afterlife in the 21st Century’), ça ira-Verlag; as of 10/2019, only available in German.]

[86] [Lorenz von Stein (1921), Denkwürdigkeiten und Briefe des Freiherrn vom Stein; citation translated by E.A.]

[87] [Adorno (1979), Minima Moralia; as of 10/2019, translation available online:]